America, Countries, Culture

A flight of fancy on Superman’s Day

And doesn’t he still look good for 87… it’s a flight of fancy on Superman’s Day.

This day in 1934 The Man of Steel burst into public consciousness in DC Comics’ Action Comics Series issue #1.

As we all know Kryptonite Kal-El exploded into the Mid-American wheat fields if Smallsville.

Only it wasn’t Kansas in the Oo Es of Eh but Beynon, near Calgary in Alberta in Canada.

A man can fly

Top man: Superman

The Beynon Canyon is pivotal in the Clark Kent story.

It is here that Martha and Clark bury his adopted father Jonathan and the young Kent decides to leave for Metropolis.

Another better-known canyon, the Grand Canyon, hoves into view when Superman saves the day.

And Daily Planet photographer Jimmie Olsen from the crumbling Hoover Dam. And trust me a good Press photographer is hard to find.

On the right track

The Rail Thing http://www.imdb.com

We all know too that Superman flew through the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

While Metropolis we all automatically associate with New York.

How could we not when Clark and Lois go for a night-time spin around the Statue of Liberty?

And we would be right to see NY as Supes’ town… in parts.

Dam impressive

The Hoover Dan set up. http://www.superman1978.com

The Daily Planet where Clark works can be found at the art deco News Building, 220 East 42nd Street.

Moved, though, from the Los Angeles City Hall, 200 North Spring Street. Yes, La La Land.

Lex Luthor’s lair we are led to believe is below the Grand Central Station although whisper it it is Pinewood Studios, Berkshire in England.

Superman’s origins may lie somewhere entirely different, the Eiger in Switzerland and Friedrich Neitzsche’s imagination.

Man of Letters

Is it a Bird? No, it’s Bandanaman in Orlando

Of course we have all channeled our own Superman on the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride at Universal Orlando.

Before back to work as the pictures show.

And as then as now… of course Superman is a man of letters too, a journalist.

So I’ll continue to be inspired by The Man of Steel and enjoy a flight of fancy on Superman’s Day.

America, Countries, Europe, Sport, UK

Water Unesco splash in Liverpool

The two Liver Bird cormorants have stood sentry over the Mersey for 110 years so why the Water Unesco splash in Liverpool now?

Unesco are threatening Liverpool with the removal of the World Heritage status it has held since 2004.

The UN cultural body do not like the Liverpool Waters Project and the Everton FC new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock one bit.

Liverpool history

Serious deterioration? The Mersey

They say those developments have resulted in “serious deterioration and irreversible loss of attributes.”

All of which sounds like a Kop-out to use a Liverpool football reference point which relates to Everton’s great rivals Liverpool FC.

I have history with the city of Liverpool having spent time down there working and the Son and Heir being born there.

The Three Graces

The Cunard Building

And whether Unesco pull their recommendations or not I will always flag up Scouse City.

Liverpool’s waterfront will, of course, be altered by the erection of Everton’s new ground.

But whether it will be enhanced or diminished by its construction depends on which side of the Mersey you’re perched on.

Although judging by the blueprint (and of course it’s blue) I’d say the new ground will be eye-catching rather than eyesore.

The Liver Building is but one pillar in the city’s Three Graces, the other iconic buildings, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.

Liverpool boasts too Albert to Dock, Walker Gallery, Chinatown and her favourite Sons, the Fab Four, The Beatles.

Liverpool’s boys

Scouse about us? The Beatles

It shouldn’t, of course, be forgotten that Liverpool has given us so much more great music too… and sport.

And as much as we’ll miss the neighbourly proximity that the Liverpool Reds and Blues share across Stanley Park a waterside stadium is special.

Try telling the fans of London club Fulham FC that their ground is unappealing.

Well-healed fans turn up at Craven Cottage by Thames-side boat while their signature tune is London Calling ‘we live by the river.’

San Fran Water Giants

Aw no, did it go in the water: San Fran

Or the San Francisco Giants faithful who also take to boats and wait in McCovey Cove, just a home run over the AT&T Park.

For the ball to come over so San Franciscans can snatch it for a collector’s piece.

The Arnos Vale Ground in Kingstown, Saint Vincent is home to the Windward Islands Cricket side.

And a towering six will have you swimming in the Caribbean to retrieve the ball.

It won’t come to that at Everton’s new ground and it leaves us asking Water Unesco splash in Liverpool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

A year on – Ireland and Scotland and further afield

That was the year that was – it’s 12 months now since I left my beloved Ireland for my first love Scotland.

I had though little intention of spending all my time in Scotia.

And instead had a long list of destinations to fill out the year.

So to mark the anniversary I’ll share the year that never was.

Off to a flier in Czech Hoptown

In the Strahov Monastery Brewery, Prague, in the Czech Republic

The Chinese lady with the mask on in the airport in Prague Airport seemed a curio at the time, a reminder of the latest virus that only affects Asia.

A few weeks later the fun and intimacy of the Czech Republic  were but a warm embrace I clung onto as I entered lockdown in Scotland for the first time.

As I came out of isolation I engaged with my Czech friends again over the new-fangled Zoom app we were all compelled to use and toasted each other in time-honoured fashion Na Zdravie.

I was heartened to see them lay out a table for a feast along the Charles Bridge in the early summer and wished that I was back there again in Prague or in the Czech Republic’s Hoptown, Zatec.

I know this though that the Czechs will get through this because they have the best beer in the world, Pilsener Urquell.

Trump steals my Keys

Limin’ at a Key Lime shop in the Keys

Suitcase packed, bandana on, I was all set for my fly-drive around the Florida Keys when Donald Trump (remember him) closed the country to visitors while encouraging Americans to gather… at his rallies.

And so Hemingway’s six-toed cats, key line pie, Florida sunsets and easy living will just have to wait.

Of course the beauty of it is that Papa’s pussies won’t have had any idea that anything was even different about the past year.

Exile me in St Helena

Napoleon was here

And another on the back-burner is Napoleon’s island. No, not his birthplace, Corsica, or the one the British sent him to initially, Elba, but the one where he ended his days, St Helena.

St Helena, 1200 mile west of southwestern Africa is one of the most remote inhabitable islands in the world and is an ecological dream.

All of which makes you think that exile was a pretty good option back in the day. And if I end up needing to self-isolate anywhere then I’ll be back in touch.

Vegas or bust

What happens in Vegas: With Cami

Now I’ve always felt bad about leaving Cami from Utah at the bar at Harrah’s Las Vegas a few years ago and knowing she goes down there every weekend knew that she’d be there when I revisited in June.

The American Travel Fair was scheduled for Neon City and I was all booked and ready, my chips at the ready to make my million.

But alas I had to leave Cami waiting again and to get my fix of Vegas I had to make do with watching the world’s greatest band The Killers perform from the ceiling of Caesars Palace on YouTube.

The fair, IPW is slated for the Fall, and I’ll be expecting an Access All Areas ticket, Brandon.

And maybe even reprising my Mr Brightside from the Rising Star Karaoke Bar, CityWalk at Universal Orlando a few years ago.

The Norman request

Perfect for a selfie?

I would have put my Monet on getting to Normandy

for the Monet festival back in late summer.

And even get a painting lesson in his back garden.

But as the UK travel corridor policy became as chaotic as the Spinal Tap boys trying to get to their gigs, again I found myself blocked.

Now what is the French word for cup-de-sac?

Bergamo go, go, go

Bergamo fountains

And just as the year was petering out and I was resigning myself to my best chance of a trip down to North Berwick beach, Mamma Mia but one came off.

And in spectacular style.

The journalist in me had me tracking the evolution of Bergamo through the pandemic, it being the gateway to the virus in Europe.

And just in time I got over to Northern Italy to talk to the Bergamaschi and ask how they had got through it all and their advice on how we should all progress now.

There was specialist Lombardy food and wine, culture, history Donizetti music and art aplenty.

But the most beautiful picture was that of the emboldened Bergamaschi in the backdrop of their historic city, both in Citta Alta and Citta Bassa, the High and the Low City.

Now there are worse places to have spent this last year, with the view of the Firth of Forth from my window, Bass Rock bookending the beach and Edinburgh just along the road.

I’ve chosen to live by the sea all my adult life. It’s a primal thing knowing that exciting lands lie beyond.

I know that we’ll visit them again soon, and hopefully I can fill in the blanks above and add San Francisco, Chicago, New England and a host of other trips I had planned last year, and many to come.

All for your enjoyment.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Aberdeen postponed

My Sporting Weekend normally addresses what is going on… not what’s not, but this weekend I’m kicking off with Aberdeen postponed.

Now Aberdeen is a city I adore.

It’s where I grew up through four years at university while I returned in my mid-20s.

To work as a sports writer and cover the local favourites, Aberdeen FC, the Dons.

Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Stadium backs on to the Aberdeen Links golf course and seagulls clack above you when you sit in the stands.

Listen to me: And Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is leading by example

It is the first all-seater stadium in the UK and is a fulfilling experience.

Except when the Dons lose which is a lot more regularly when I covered them.

And they were the unchallenged second best team in the land, behind Rangers.

The Granite City

So just why a number of their players were in a bar after the match and contracted COVID-19 is beyond me.

Because the legends from Alex Ferguson’s teams of the Eighties which conquered Europe would have gone home and hidden.

In a dark room if they had been beaten by Rangers.

Today’s scheduled game with St Johnstone has been postponed.

Which I hope will give the players some time to think about how they have let their club down.

Neigh Dublin Horse Show this year

Ship ahoy/ The Stena Dublin Horse Show

The summer highlight in the exclusive Dublin 4 area of the Irish capital is the Dublin Horse Show.

Out of rugby season (the only winter game in this part of town) it’s all about the Horse Show, sponsored by Stena.

Now to say that Stena put on a show for their friends is selling them short.

Because after being wined and dined and schmoozed you’ll be as floaty as their ferries.

While there’s nothing like getting up close and personal with those wonderful horses and seeing them leap over those huge fences and skyscraping wall.

This might seem like a refusal at a fence just now but surely we’ll get some movement for next year.

Snooker, a longer cue

And in a former life too I was a snooker writer.

I annually covered the Rothmans Grand Prix and the local Reading scene in the south of England.

In those days in the Eighties the snooker world was smaller, British and white Commonwealth countries.

Asia was beginning to embrace the game with James Thaiphoon Wattana the standard-bearer.

The game has exploded in the Far East since and it is surely only a matter of time until we have an Asian world champion.

Which will be a bit like the game coming home as it was India where it was born.

Golf, but no galleries

You’re the man: Vegas

The USPGA Championship is being played out in front of only the birdies at the TPC Harding Park, San Francisco.

San Fran is a city I had intended to visit for the first time this summer.

Having ticked off West Hollywood and LA last summer when I joined the galaxy of stars and Star Wars with Visit California.

And I reckon I have game too which I showed in Las Vegas.

No crowds means no crush although you only really appreciate the contours of a green when you get to the course.

But you are spared a fat polo-shirted and shorted balding guy shouting ‘You the Man’ from behind the tee.

I’ll just have to do it from the sofa instead.

 

 

 

America, Culture, Deals, Ireland

Chicago-go-go-go

Gameshow legend Jim Bowen would famously draw back the curtain and tell contestants… ‘let’s look at what you could have won.’

It’s how I feel about Chicago.

Two years ago I was invited to the Windy City but had to respectfully turn it down…

Because my Dear Old Mum decided to turn 90 then!

A dose of the Blues

Chicago chic

The pictures of one colleague up on the stage singing the Blues, the group drinking Chicago craft beer and pizza and watching baseball at Wrigley Field didn’t help.

So what do you do when Plan A is taken off the table.

Move onto Plan B.

Which was to go this year, particularly as it’s the 100th anniversary of the Volstead Act, the start of Prohibition.

Until COVID-19 intervened.

Back with a bang

That’s St Patrick’s Day for you

So, onto Plan C and thanks to our friends American Holidays I can see a door squeezing open again.

AH, who think of everything know too that having missed our St Patrick’s Day celebrations, may want an even bigger hooley next year.

And there are few better places than Chicago where they literally turn the river green.

It’s all part of a pitch by AH to remind us that America WILL reopen and when it does he will be first in the queue.

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with the family in Chicago with American Holidays from €659pp.

Visit www.choosechicago.com.

California calling

Santa Monica Boulevard

Of course it doesn’t help when you get constant reminders of Chicago wherever you go.

Such as last year in Santa Monica https://www.santamonica.com/visit-santa-monica/ when I visited the landmark signpost marking the end of Route 66.

All great https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/ but of course Route 66 starts off from Chicago so I’m still waiting to get my kicks there.

I got plenty though in Santa Monica and Venice Beach https://www.visitveniceca.com.

The West Coast

And the Golden Gate obviously

And I’m getting the small fiddle out here… I was set too for San Francisco www.sftravel.com and www.visitcalifornia.com this month.

You may too have been looking forward to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Fisherman’s Wharf or ride the cable car up the hilly city.

Where’s Frasier?

Space age… in Seattle

I’ve been bingeing on Seattle’s favourite son Frasier in lockdown. Heck, I do even in normal times.

And Seattle will be on your American Holidays bespoke trip.

Again, one that got away here, the inaugural Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com mission to Seattle www.visitseattle.org.

Which I was invited on only for me to be in the air going to Denver at the time www.denver.org and Go West and The New Frontiersmen.

Seattle is unfinished business, particularly getting up that Space Needle which I see on the skyline at the start of every show.

The west coast adventure next Spring is from €1699pp.

And back in Boston

pexels-photo

Where we first met the great psychiatrist.

And where I spent a much-storied summer working in Faneuil Hall.

While me flatmate Neily sold Cheers merchandise from a cart on the Common.

I worked 30 days flat without taking a break as others went on day breaks to Cape Cod, another destination that got away.

Boston http://www.boston.gov/visiting-boston has been dangled tantalisingly in front of my years this year too.

With a walk along Fenway Park’s Green Wall, a highlight of the itinerary which had been planned for me.

But I will be back and when I do I’ll be full of beans.

Boston and Cape Cod with American Holidays from €1450pp. See http://www.americanholidays.com

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Covid-day Snaps – Canarian ‘safe’ passports

Nobody likes their passport pic, particularly now we can’t even smile.

Mine’s looks like it could have been taken more than 100 years ago when they were first introduced.

But we don’t even flinch at being asked now for it and I suspect we’ll quickly get used to the technology being rolled out by the Canary Islands to get us back travelling.

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation have agreed a flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian firm Hi + Card

I can just taste that Tenerife Shakespearean wine Malvasia.

CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com will make you earn it with their walking holidays but it’s worth it. Also see https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5dWNgOam6QIVCLLtCh2C-AsBEAAYASAAEgLfaPD_BwE

My other family

Family business:: I feel I know these LA folk

If your family is driving you up the wall you may be taking sanctuary in a TV family… me, I’ve been a fly on the wall at the Pritchards and the Dunphys in LA.

Our first introduction to American cities was througb the gogglebox… The Streets of San Francisco https://www.sftravel.com, Cheers in Boston https://www.bostonusa.com, Miami Vice https://www.miamiandbeaches.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/.

Colorado rocks

Denver’s Dynasty www.denver.org Go West and Mork and Mindy in Colorado www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen Pawn Stars in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic and House of Cards in Washington www.washington.org and Easy DC.

And New York www.nycvb.com where my Uncle Petie became a superstar in my eyes when Kojak filmed in his bar.

From Missouri to happiness today: Cam and Mitch

I always make a point of annoying the Scary One by pointing out that I’ve been there which is probably why she doesn’t watch Modern Family…

The climax of which is playing out in a two-parter.

Gay parents Mitch Pritchard, an uptight lawyer and Cam Tucker, a hillbilly football coach steal the show.

Hello sailor: In West Hollywood

But it is time for them to move to Cam’s Missouri and leave behind LA https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and I dare say to West Hollywood, the chillest, gayest part of LA https://www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

Where I was complimented on my sailor’s hat and bandana combo.

And if we you feel like the only news you’re getting out of the Oo Es of A is bad then I’ll redress the balance.

So hold on and I’ll let you know how among others my Native American and my Deep South pals are meeting the challenges and prevailing.

We’ll wait for you, Princess

Cruise liners were a sitting target for their critics when the virus first visited.

But they have shown a self-sacrificing responsibility and a willingness to change and I believe they will come back stronger.

Princess www.princess.com has announced the cancellation of select 2020 summer sailings.

And this is a reminder of what we’re all missing and will enjoy again https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/amp/.

We stayed open

Health is wealth: At the Buchinger Wilhelmi

Our European friends pride themselves on their spas and scientific holiday retreats.

And the Buchinger Wilhelmi http://www.buchinger-wilhelmi.com medi-spa, which overlooks Lake Constance and the Alps and prides itself.

On its therapeutic fasting and integrative medicine, has stayed open through this crisis.

They have a ten-day fasting programme from £2340pp.

And it includes two consultations with a doctor, daily nurse, check-ups, food/drink, fasting provisions and daily activities.

Now, I love an oul’ spa and retreat and my friends, the Czechs know them better than most… www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD